Career transitions for Executive Assistants

Being an Assistant isn’t for everyone. I mean, let’s face it, the job has its challenges, and I think you have to love the role to succeed in it genuinely.

If you think of the position as a stepping stone to something else or a job that you’ve just so happened to fall into, but it isn’t something you want to do forever, then you’ll never give it your all, and you know what? That is fine.

Not every lawyer loves their job, and I doubt very much that every Accountant springs out of bed in the morning itching to crunch some numbers! So, it is inevitable that some Assistants will eventually want to switch careers.

Or if you are like me, who loved being an EA, something crops up that is too good to turn down. So from experience, here are my tips on how to change your Assistant career.

Look at what you do and what your role covers.

What skills do you use that you can transfer to a different profession?

As Assistants, we are lucky because we do lots of various tasks, so our skills are generally pretty broad, which means we can move quite quickly into something different. It helps career transitions for Executive Assistants.

The tricky bit is demonstrating that those skills are ideal for a new role, so think about your strengths and core values along with your skills and competencies.

How can you show that you are made for this new career? Veronica Richards has a great session on how Assistants can move into new industries and sectors by using their transferable skills.

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What are your career options?

Once you’ve evaluated your skillset do some research to see where those skills are most needed and add value.

For example, you might have loads of project management experience and decide that actual project management is a better fit than the Assistant role. Alternatively, you might organise lots of events and want to do that full time.

Once you have spent some time building up your experience, preferably in your own company, then it is time to spread your wings and get a new job.

Don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself on your CV; you can tweak your history to highlight all the experience that supports your new career path.

It isn’t fraud to emphasise all the positive skills that match the new career you want, and if you don’t use a little artistic licence, it could hold you back.

Use your network.

It is much easier convincing someone of your remarkable skills when they have seen you in action or know something about you.

Always reach out to your network when you are looking for a new role. When you are looking for a new career, your network will be even more invaluable.

Get qualified.

I worked with an Assistant who had a real passion for marketing, and everytime anything related to marketing cropped up she put her hand up and got on board. While building her experience in marketing, she was also studying a marketing degree through the Open University. Once she felt ready to move into this field, she had both experience and qualifications.

If you do want to make a career change do ensure you have the qualifications and the expertise to make the transition easier.

Consider a different role within your organisation.

Again, this is easier said than done for Assistants, but we have many articles on how you can get yourself in the best position for promotions and alternative career paths.

If you transition into a new role within your current company, be prepared for some people struggling to take you seriously. People don’t like change, and if you have been an Assistant and moved into another profession, some people find it hard to move with the times.

When it comes time to apply for a new job, make sure that you highlight the skills that match the profession that you want to get into. Remember to be realistic because transitioning your career can take time.

Life is long, and just because you have been in one job, as the world’s best Assistant, for some years doesn’t mean you cannot make a change if you want to.

The skills, patience and courage that come with being an Assistant will stand you in good stead in any new role and make you a fantastic, very employable person.

Don’t put any limits on what you can achieve.